The New Drug Testing Environment of Pennsylvania’s Health Care Professionals

On March 12, 2014 the New York Times published an op-ed Why Aren’t Doctors Drug Tested? The opinion piece spells out numerous national cases of drug addicted doctors and nurses engaging in extensive 1) addiction-related malpractice, 2) patient assisted suicide, 3) personal drug overdose, and 4) drug tampering (stealing patient’s medications and shooting up with the same needle and then infecting the patient with their HIV or hepatitis C) resulting in serial transference of infectious diseases. The article set forth extensive documentation of medical professionals theft of hospital medications creating a drug addiction epidemic which in turn resulted in serious patient safety risks and deaths.

Accordingly to many Pennsylvania Department of State licensing board investigators with whom I and clients meet, this is the current professional climate in which Pennsylvania’s healthcare professionals and patients reside and work. Since the investigation of Herbert Gosnell, M.D. (the Philadelphia gynecologist/abortion doctor charged with murdering babies) broke into the open, Pennsylvania’s professional licensing board investigators have been very busy.  After Gosnell, the professional board investigation departments initiated a new professional enforcement regimen.

On the drug use facet of these investigative bodies, every single positive drug test of any licensed professional mandates a state investigation. Employers, employment agencies, pre-employment screening agencies, and hospitals must report  to a professional board the professional’s positive drug test. The regulatory reporting requirement applies to any drug test secured for any reason. Medical based drug testers are required to give the professional patient the opportunity to self-report within 30 days or the hospital must report.

In sum, any manner within which a state investigator finds out that a professional’s body fluids contain non-prescribed and/or illegal scheduled narcotics, an investigation will be commenced.   Unfortunately the first step in these investigations is statements taken, admissions potentially sought, or additional drug tests secured. This is either at the employer level or through the state investigator. Thereafter, contact with a  PHMP, PMP, or PNAP caseworker who will seek acknowledgment of drug impairment or addiction and voluntary admission into an inpatient treatment facility.  Second evaluations are sought, which routinely find some type of substance abuse disorder regardless of whether future positive drug test exist. This is all a trap. Please read my other blogs on these tactics.

Looking back at the New York Times article and other local newsworthy criminal/malpractice cases, state investigators of the nursing boards are now pressing these cases with extreme urgency, diligence, and persistence. They want admissions and stipulations of addiction and impairment where none exist and scare and threaten every hard working professional with their license. Please call me to discuss any contact with your employer, substance-abuse social workers, PNAP or PMP monitoring programs, or state criminal investigators.

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